Monday, June 22, 2009

Art Makes Kids Smart

I chose the title of this blog after reading the book Arts With The Brain In Mind by Eric Jensen. Jensen's thesis is that The Arts should be part of the core curriculum of public education. Jensen bases his thesis on what we know from brain research and learning theory. It's an excellent book and well worth reading. This summer I'm reading another of Jensen's books, Teaching With The Brain In Mind and Top Tunes for Teaching: 977 Song Titles & Practical Tools for Choosing the Right Music Every Time. I'll share more on the ideas in these books in the coming months.

The main purpose of this blog is to share my ideas with other art teachers and in turn, develop a network where ideas can be shared and questions addressed. I also want to communicate to parents and other interested visitors to this blog the enormous importance the arts play on the development of the child.

I teach in Washington State and part of the big change I am facing as an art educator includes identifying the specific learning goals my art lessons are designed to address. Wow, that sounds so rigid. I thought art was all about individual expression and exploration and fun! What's all this about learning goals?

The introduction of the Washington State "EALRS" (Essential Acedemic Learning Requirements) has been a real challenge for me. It's been very frustrating and for a while it made me very angry. I grew tired of the question: "What's the learning target for this lesson?" I wanted to pour paint on the person's head just for asking the question. I still hate the question. I want the art work admired and enjoyed for what it is: a beautiful creation by a child expressing outward somthing from within. (If an art teacher asks that same question, I am delighted to answer as I know they will have ideas to share too! It's only when that is asked by people hung up on the skills components that I am truly bothered.)

This is enough for now. Please give me feedback as I'd really like to hear from you. I have a lot to share if all goes they way I am planning. This blog is my summertime project (along with a huge list of honey do's) ;)


  1. That book sounds interesting. I wrote it down-so hopefully I'll look into it. Also, wanted to read The Artist's Way(?) this summer.
    I teach art in a priamry school now after teaching middle school before that.
    I saw this from ART ED yahoo group.
    Ruthe Ann

  2. It's well worth the read. Not familiar with The Artist's Way. I'll look into that one too. Enjoy your summer! :)